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Air Quality


To lead communities in Northwestern Ontario and the Lake Superior basin in improving outdoor and indoor air quality by reducing air pollutant and noise emissions.

Why It Matters

Local citizens enjoy the natural environment and expect the outdoors to be free of air contaminants and unwanted sounds (noise). Air pollution is not restricted by lines on a map and can travel, impacting areas far from the source. At a given location, pollutant concentrations are affected by source locations and strengths, sunlight, moisture, clouds, precipitation, geography and weather conditions. Similarly, the acoustic environment is determined by noise source locations and strengths, the terrain between sources and receptors, and weather conditions.

Thunder Bay has excellent air quality overall, primarily because of a smaller number of industrial sources and the absence of major transportation routes, as compared to cities in more urbanized areas. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change measures Thunder Bay’s air quality index (AQI)links to external site and it is consistently among the best of the 40 provincial stations.

As the largest community in Northwestern Ontario, the City of Thunder Bay must be a leader in protecting air quality. Thunder Bay is the most significant contributor to air emissions in the region and has the largest population subject to potential air quality impacts from constantly changing issues: the evolving nature of local industry has impacted air and noise emissions; there are fewer resource-based industries; there is a move to biomass fuel or alternate power generation; and, climate change could be impacting the nature of air contaminant sources.

Currently there are robust provincial and federal regulatory frameworks that address air quality, noise and consumer products. Thunder Bay must support its citizens, visitors, and current or potential business leaders in promoting air quality by providing education, information, tools, and options, so environmentally responsible consumer choices and business decisions can be made.


A. By 2016 the City of Thunder Bay has developed and implemented anti-idling programs, reducing emissions from idling vehicles.

B. By 2020, emissions from household wood combustion and garbage burning are reduced.

C. By 2016, fragrance free policies in public buildings and commercial establishments are adopted.

D. By 2020, traffic noise control measures are in place.

E. By 2020, Thunder Bay citizens have the air quality and noise resources they need to make environmentally responsible decisions.

Recommended Actions: Air Quality section  Adobe PDF, 6 pages, 250 KB

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